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The “Adele II”, a wild day on the water, and a plate in storage

31 Mar

Item: A plate that seems to be chronicling a ship voyage. The ship was the “Adele II” and the voyage was on August 24, 1934.

Why I have it: I don’t know. It was in my grandfather’s box of stuff that my mother received after grandpa had past away. Grandpa must’ve got it from his dad. Not sure what the connection is to our family (if there is one).

Goals: I’d like to get the plate back into the hands of the family of the boat owner. It seems like a fun plate to have. I’d also like to discover any connection to our family if there is one.



I googled “Margerum” and “Barleycorn” and New Jersey to see if there was some obvious story online about this voyage. No luck.

I posted a picture on the New Jersey Genealogy Network Facebook Page and had some really fun responses. One fellow helped me understand that “J. Barleycorn” is probably a reference to alcohol rather than a person, which I wasn’t aware of since I have a very limited history with moonshine. That may be the funniest part of the plate…the boat was commanded by Margerum and “alcohol”. So now I was looking for a boat owner named “H. Margerum” who lived in or around New Jersey in 1934.

I sent an email to the Ocean County Historical Society, and they’re out of the office for obvious reasons but will have a couple researchers look things up if they have time.

So I went to to look up “H. Margerum”. I used 1900 to 1920 as his birthdate range and New Jersey as the state. Magic! I quickly noted the following:

Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 9.21.46 AM

Note that Herbert P Margerum has a daughter, Adele! I’m guessing this is the family and that Herbert named his boat, the “Adele II” after his daughter. Trenton, NJ is about an hour’s drive to Eno’s Pond, which is close to where the “Adele II” started her voyage that day.

Here’s the family:

The (possible) boat owner, I think, is Herbert Pratt Margerum (1882-1942) and he was the father in the family. He was married to Norma A. Hughes (1884) and they had one daughter, Adele Hughes (or Henarie) Margerum, who was born 9 Apr 1908 Trenton, Mercer, New Jersey. Sadly, Adele passed away at a fairly young age in 1940, but not before marrying John Robert McNeil (1908-1970) on November 19, 1934 (the same year as the voyage mapped on the plate). They had two children previous to 1940, John Robert McNeil III and Norma McNeil.

I was able to find a little info about Herbert from The Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer County, New Jersey, Volume 2 (p. 814). You’ll find here that Herbert was very active in life, participating in a number of careers. His marriage is mentioned, but not his daughter.

Now we turn to Adele Margerum (since the boat is names after her). I’d like to see if any of her children are still alive or I’d like to find a grandchild. Adele was married to John Robert McNeil in 1934 and John lived to 1970. I find Adele and John McNeil in the 1940 Census with two young children: John Robert McNeil III (3 yrs) and Norma McNeil (0 years). That means that John Robert III would be 80 if he is still with us and his sister, Norma, would be about 77. I’m hoping to find either of them or their children.

According to Adele’s obituary, she died of a heart attack while in a doctor’s office. She was 34 years old and her children were quite young.

Now I need to find John Robert Mcneil III or Norma McNeil or their kids.

Our Connection: My great grandfather, James Lawrence Vanderbeek, had a small yacht in Barnegat Bay. He was on that boat a lot. James died at the young age of 45, in 1937. I’m wondering if (in order of drama):

  1. Great grandpa bought this plate form a local store because he knew the story
  2. He was given the plate because he was a close friend
  3. He was given the plate because he was on the boat with H. Margerum! (That would be fun)


Our Family (as of 2015)…

27 Jul

I’m using this image in another project but needed to have it posted online here…disregard 🙂

More family history coming soon…


Mickelsons 2015

How We Found the “lost children”…

17 Oct

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 11.36.13 PMPoking through Puzzilla led me to August and Mary (Gilbert) Schuck. August is one of the sons of my great-great-great grandparents, Jacob and Elizabeth Schuck. I noticed that August and his wife only had two children listed, which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary except that they lived in the 1870’s when birth control wasn’t the norm, and having more than two children was. So, curious, I decided to try to see if August and Mary had more children that we didn’t know about.

I’ll make a long story much shorter…

I wound up in the 1910 US Census because I knew that it would list the number of children a mother gave birth to as well as the number of children that were still living in 1910. If there was a difference, then we’d know there were more children (assuming that she reported correctly). Here’s what I found:

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.49.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.48.55 PMNoticed that she has listed 6 children being born, but only 3 still living? There was the clue I needed. Now, knowing that three children weren’t still alive in 1910, I started searching death records with August and Mary as the parents. Very quickly I found two death records, one for Addison and one for George. Both died before they were 6,  but not as infants, so I’d like to find the cause of death, but I haven’t searched that far yet and I’m not sure I’ll be able to find the causes. Here are their indexed death records:

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.51.39 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.51.10 PM

I would imagine that 1879 and 1880 were tough years for the Schuck family. And, as you can tell from my story, I haven’t found the other two missing children. We’ll see what we can find in the coming weeks.

You’ll notice that the death record has a street address where the family lived when these two young boys passed away. Using Google Maps, I found the area and where their home would’ve been, but the house or building has been, sadly, torn down.

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 11.07.20 PM

Two Children or Four? (Help from the census records!)

23 Jan

I’ll make this quick. I think James “D” Vanderbeek and Nettie Ward Vanderbeek only had two children. Shocking, I know…

When I recently went to, I found four children listed for James and Nettie:

  1. James Lawrence Vanderbeek (1892)
  2. Ruth Vanderhoek (1894) suspect!
  3. Stuart Ward Vanderbeek (1895)
  4. James L. Vanderhoek (1908) suspect!

Here’s why I think there are really only two children, James (1892) and Stuart (1895). I remembered that the census records often ask the mothers how many children they had given birth to and how many were alive:

Screen shot 2013-01-13 at 5.40.12 PM

Notice the little “1” and the “1” next to it? This mother claimed to have given birth once and the child was still alive.

So here is Nettie’s line (along with her two boys) in the 1910 US Census. Here husband is listed on the previous census page, so you won’t see him here:

Screen shot 2013-01-13 at 5.43.09 PM

Notice, all the way on the right hand side, the little “2’s”? Two births, two living children. It is the same on the 1900 Census.

So, I’ll do a little more work..check birth records, etc., but I really can’t find anything remotely close to a Ruth or James L. Vanderhoek…so, they’re probably on the verge of getting cut…